In Illinois personal injury lawsuits, the job of the court is to oversee the case and make sure it moves efficiently through the court system. In most cases, this involves setting deadlines for discovery, establishing a firm trial date, and ruling on motions. However, in some cases the court will order one or both of the parties to perform a specific action.
In a recent Illinois personal injury lawsuit, the court ordered the plaintiff’s family to accept the defendant CTA’s offer to settle for $11 million. The defendant had previously offered the plaintiff’s family $10 million, which they had refused.
This Illinois personal injury case involved a 28 year-old factory worker who was a passenger in a car when it was struck by a Chicago bus. At the time of the accident the plaintiff had a one year-old son with his second child being born just one day after the Chicago bus accident. The severity of the injuries the Illinois resident sustained during the bus accident have left him with the mental capacity of a child.
The plaintiff required three months of hospitalization due to a traumatic brain injury which has left him permanently disabled. Not only is he no longer to work and provide for his young family, but he requires constant care and supervision at home.
After the family turned down the CTA’s $10 million offer for settlement, the court appointed a guardian ad litem in an attempt to bring about a reasonable settlement. A guardian ad litem is a court appointed guardian whose sole purpose is to represent the interests of a person, in this case the plaintiff and his heirs, in a lawsuit. The rights and duties of the guardian ad litem end with the end of the lawsuit.
The guardian ad litem reviewed the facts of the Illinois personal injury lawsuit and determined that liability would have been disputed at trial. This means that there was some debate about whether the CTA bus was the sole cause of the Chicago bus accident. If someone other than the CTA bus driver was at fault then this would lessen the jury award received from the CTA at trial. Given these facts, the guardian ad litem suggested to the court that the CTA pay the plaintiff $11 million. The court then ordered the $11 million settlement.
This is not the first time that a court has ordered a settlement in an Illinois personal injury lawsuit. A precedent was set in a case concerning Rashidi Wheeler, a Northwestern University football player who died after a pre-season conditioning in 2001. A lawsuit was brought by Wheeler’s mother on behalf of his three minor heirs and half brother. The Cook County court ordered the mother to accept a $16 million settlement despite her objections, citing that it was in the best interest of the decedent’s heirs.
In Wheeler, the mother appealed the court’s decision, which was then affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court. She then attempted to bring her appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court who declined to review the case. Citing this precedent, the plaintiff’s family in the above bus accident case has indicated that it is not inclined to appeal the court’s decision at this time.
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